Festival Preview: NW Hesh Fest

Aaron Sharpsteen / September 21, 2016

Hesh Fest Poster

Take a look for what “hesher” means and you’ll come up with some pretty funny and brutal definitions, usually revolving around a “stuck in the 80’s” metal-head that likes to imbibe and partake in substances far and wide. Internet connotations aside, NW Hesh Fest is coming to Portland once again, bringing with it a slew of bands that will certainly inspire everyone involved to let out some heavy and hedonistic energy. Below is the day by day breakdown.

Red Fang. All photos by Aaron Sharpsteen
Red Fang. All photos by Aaron Sharpsteen

Day 1
Red Fang | American Sharks | Witch Mountain | 9/22 | Doors 9, Music 10 | Get tickets | 21+

The fest has a smattering of great Portland bands, showcased especially on the first night, with perennial favorites Red Fang and Witch Mountain joined by American Sharks. The outlier for this show is probably the opener, Witch Mountain. Their aesthetic, which makes room for more classic doom tempo and tone, will play nicely off the “beer metal” of Red Fang and American Sharks. Red Fang is coming up on a new album (Only Ghosts, out in October) and Witch Mountain is going on tour, so come out and give some Portland bands some love.


Day 2
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats | Danava | Banquet | 9/23 | Doors 8:30, Music 9:30  | Get tickets | 21+

The lineup for the second night is definitely what the authors of the definition of “hesher” had in mind: tight black jeans, long hair, bullet belts, cheap beer misting through clouds of pungent pot smoke. The hype around Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats seems to have died down from its apex a couple years ago (though versions of their records still sell for hundreds of dollars), but they are still quality stoner/psych/doom purveyors. Danava is consistently named as one of Portland’s best bands by musicians and fans alike, with a rock-and-roll sound and a bottle of Jameson on the stage for inspiration.


Day 3
Deafheaven | The Blood Royale | Diesto | Greenbeard | 9/24 | Doors 8:30, Music 9:30 | Get tickets | 21+

After two days of metal that is relatively similar, the third day is an eclectic mix of doom, stoner, and black metal to close it all out. Deafheaven is another band whose height of popularity probably came about two years ago, which is a shame, because they followed up the album of that year with a better one, New Bermuda, last year. The Blood Royale is going to sling some metal that is as close to thrash as this fest is going to get. Diesto, another Portland band that is criminally under-rated, and Greenbeard, a band with an album named Stoned at the Throne, keep the stoner/sludge theme of the weekend consistent.

Ultimately there is something for everyone this weekend, though fans of metal that is enhanced by intoxication are probably going to have the most fun. Get ready for three long nights of great metal.

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